The Global Security News: Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): “deutsche bank and trump” – Google News: Trump sues to block US bank subpoenas – The Canberra Times

Trump sues to block US bank subpoenas  The Canberra Times

US President Donald Trump is suing Deutsche Bank and Capital One in an attempt to block congressional subpoenas for his business records. The lawsuit by …

“deutsche bank and trump” – Google News

Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites)

The Global Security News

The Global Security News: Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): “deutsche bank and trump” – Google News: Trump Family Sues Deutsche Bank, Capital One To Fight Dems’ Subpoenas – Townhall

Trump Family Sues Deutsche Bank, Capital One To Fight Dems’ Subpoenas  Townhall

The Trump family on Monday filed a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One to prevent the banks from complying with subpoenas from the House …

“deutsche bank and trump” – Google News

Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites)

The Global Security News

The Global Security News: Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): “deutsche bank and trump” – Google News: Trump team sues banks to keep them from turning over financial records to Congress – KCCI Des Moines

Trump team sues banks to keep them from turning over financial records to Congress  KCCI Des Moines

The Trump family and his business are suing two banks to block them from congressional subpoenas.

“deutsche bank and trump” – Google News

Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites)

The Global Security News

The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites): “global security” – Google News: Liberia: Nobel Women’s Initiative 2019 Conference Opens Today in Monrovia – Front Page Africa

Liberia: Nobel Women’s Initiative 2019 Conference Opens Today in Monrovia  Front Page Africa

MONROVIA – The Nobel Women’s Initiative 2019 Conference would commence today at the Monrovia City Hall for the next three days. Shirin Ebadi, Jody …

“global security” – Google News

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)

The Global Security News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites): “Madison Brooklyn” – Google News: Baseball: German’s late blast rallies Philo past John Glenn – Zanesville Times Recorder

Baseball: German’s late blast rallies Philo past John Glenn  Zanesville Times Recorder

The Muskingum Valley League baseball race took another turn on Monday night.

“Madison Brooklyn” – Google News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites)

The Global Security News: Rod Rosenstein: Deputy Attorney General submits his resignation – Vox.com

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April 29, 2019
Rod Rosenstein: Deputy Attorney General submits his resignation – Vox.com
“peter strzok is removed” – Google News: Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein resigns and thanks Trump for ‘courtesy and humor’ – Daily Mail
FBI Says It Thwarted A Planned Terrorist Attack By A Military Vet in Los Angeles Area – WJCT NEWS
FBI says received vague tips ahead of deadly California synagogue shooting – Reuters
“fbi criticism” – Google News: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submits letter of resignation to President Trump – Baltimore Sun

Rod Rosenstein: Deputy Attorney General submits his resignation – Vox.com

Vox.com
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the Russia investigation, is now, finally and officially, stepping down.
Read More

“peter strzok is removed” – Google News: Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein resigns and thanks Trump for ‘courtesy and humor’ – Daily Mail

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein turned in his letter of resignation Monday, thanking President Trump and even complimenting his private ‘courtesy’ despite the president going after him publicly during the Mueller probe.
Read More

FBI Says It Thwarted A Planned Terrorist Attack By A Military Vet in Los Angeles Area – WJCT NEWS

WJCT NEWS
A U.S. Army veteran with experience fighting in Afghanistan conspired to stage a terrorist attack on a planned white supremacist rally with the intent of inflicting mass casualties in the Los Angeles area, according to federal prosecutors.
Read More

FBI says received vague tips ahead of deadly California synagogue shooting – Reuters

Reuters
(Reuters) – The woman who was killed in a deadly shooting at a Southern California synagogue will be buried on Monday after being hailed as a hero, as police continue to investigate the motive of the 19-year-old suspect.
Read More

“fbi criticism” – Google News: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submits letter of resignation to President Trump – Baltimore Sun

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation Monday after a two-year run defined by his appointment of a special counsel to investigate connections between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
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The Global Security News

The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites): Eurasia Review: Electoral Reform Crucial For Malaysian Reform – Analysis

The key to eradicating “Malay-Nationalist” hegemony and feudalism in Malaysia

There is no doubt that the May 9, 2018 electoral revolution that ended six decades of rule of Malaysia by the Barisan Nasional is in danger. The Pakatan Harapan coalition that won has stumbled from issue to issue, in the process of losing three key by-elections and facing increased voter antipathy.

What the reform coalition must realize is that the key to its transformation agenda is electoral reform. It is the prerequisite to political, economic, market, civil service, and social reforms.

The current electoral system has locked in the New Economic Policy (NEP), which was introduced in 1971 after disastrous race riots on May 13, 1969 that took hundreds of lives but which has hamstrung the country economically in the succeeding 48 years.

The original intention was to help Malays participate in the economy along with other races and to develop a Malay professional class through education. However, this positive discrimination policy also facilitated the growth of Malay nationalist narratives into society to the point where the ethnic Malay-agenda has become the dominant political rhetoric, not just within the political environment, but is one of the major drivers of Malaysian cultural dynamics. To many, it has become hegemonic.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, during his first administration, with his then-deputy Anwar Ibrahim, went on a massive campaign to produce Malay entrepreneurs, providing them with ‘institutionally created opportunities” to get rich. We saw the privatisation of the state-owned airline MAS, the development of the Genting gaming complex, the creation of private tollways, public transport and telecommunications, in what has become to be known as crony capitalism. This cronyism became synonymous with becoming a politician as an endeavour to make money, particularly within the ranks of the governing United Malays National Organization, which led the Barisan.

As Islam is a major part of the Malay identity, a form of political Islam also developed. Political Islam’s rhetoric has increased the divide between Muslims and Non-Muslims over the last generation. Islam in Malaysia has moved away from the more inclusive forms that were once found in Egypt and Turkey towards a firebrand exclusive Islam more along the lines of teachings preached by fugitive preacher Zakir Naik.

The current Dewan Rakyat (lower house) electoral system with heavy weighting towards the rural Malay regions over more ethnically diverse urban areas perpetuates Malay-nationalist narratives. It is the heartlands where elections are won or lost, even though 76 percent of the population live in urban areas.

In an extreme example of the electoral weighting of rural areas, one vote in the federal constituency of Igan in Sarawak is worth nine votes in the Bangi constituency in Selangor. In addition, the first past the post voting system which elects the candidate with just a simple majority of votes is inadequate. ‘First past the post’ voting doesn’t give minority parties with general support across the country any voice in parliament, if they cannot win a majority in any constituency. This also promotes the polarity of Malay-nationalist narratives within the Malaysian political system today.

In the 2013 election the Barisan Nasional won 59.91 percent of the constituencies with only 47.38 percent of the popular vote. The principle of “one vote one value” more fairly allows the aggregate voting intention of the country to be reflected in which party or coalition governs the country.

A fairer voting system would help free the country of unhealthy exclusionist narratives which pit one race against another. Hopefully this would encourage inclusive politics rather than the current racial based political rhetoric which is costing the country socially, culturally, and economically.

This is a prerequisite to any development agenda.

Electoral reform cannot stop there. The Dewan Negara, the parliament, has been denigrated into a house of convenience for the federal government of the day. It is comprised of 26 members appointed by state legislatures, four representing the federal territories and 40 appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the king. There are no democratically elected members.

The Dewan Negara is a left-over artefact from the 19th Century symbolising feudalism. It doesn’t functionally review government and maintain states’ rights as it is nominally supposed to do. Its functions have been simply thrashed by past and current governments and converted to appoint members who often use this pathway to become unelected ministers of government.

The disrespect the house is given by the government today is indicated by the fact that 17 seats remain unappointed and therefore unoccupied. This makes it a mockery. The Dewan Negara should not be a convenience for the government of the day, but a working piece of the Malaysian democratic system.

A special committee to look into electoral reform chaired by former Election Commission Chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman was set up last August, not under the parliament but under the Prime Minister’s Department. The Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) has held a number of roundtable discussions with stakeholders and international experts and recently signed an agreement with the UNDP to assist in electoral reform.

However with no specific timeframe and an ad hoc style investigation taking place, it remains to be seen whether this committee will just be a talk fest and travel junket or make serious recommendations in regards to how to overhaul the electoral system.

Under Article 46 of the Malaysian Constitution, parliamentary constituencies can only be reviewed in 2023 and 2026. This means there cannot be any reforms implemented until after the next federal and state elections. To hasten the process would require an amendment to the constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority in the parliament. Pakatan doesn’t command a two-thirds majority and judging by its defeat over the Sabah and Sarawak constitutional amendments, it’s highly unlikely any bipartisan approach will be taken on electoral reform.

Any amendments to the Dewan Negara will also require constitutional amendments. Any attempt to make amendments would most probably lead to charges by the opposition that the government is trying to undermine the royalty, as under the current constitution the Agong on the advice of the prime minister appoints the majority of members sitting in the house.

There are a few additional electoral reform matters which can be changed without committees and constitutional changes. De-synchronising the federal and state elections would bring state issues into elections. This could easily be achieved through dissolving respective houses at different times. Local elections are important to participatory democracy. However these reforms, proposed by he Pakatan coalition since 2008, have led to lengthy procrastination.

Gender bias in each political party could be tackled at the party level although there appears little determination to solve this problem. The balance of power between the Federal and state governments needs to be re-balanced towards the states. This could be partly achieved by political parties allowing their local memberships select their own state candidates.

However the bottom line on electoral reform is that it is not in the real interests of Mahahir’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. The current skew in constituencies toward the Malay heartlands favors Bersatu. Any reforms toward ‘one vote one value’ would greatly strengthen the urban parties, the Malay moderate Parti Keadilan Rakyat, and the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Paety at the cost of Bersatu.

So expect the current government to sit on electoral reform until a leader comes from another party.

A system that reflects ‘one vote one value’ is badly needed if the country is going to continue to develop economically. Landslide election victories under the ‘first past the post’ system have brought arrogant, kleptocratic government in the past. The current system is keeping the NEP in place with the Malay-nationalist and exclusion dialogues propagated by ideologues. This is coming to a tipping point where it is starting to terrorize non-Muslims.

The government needs to send a strong statement against the institutionalised feudalism of the state by democratizing the upper house and giving a stronger states’ voice into the democratic system of a federation. The current electoral system is shackling Malaysia in more ways than one.

Originally published in the Asia Sentinel

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)

The Global Security News

The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Electoral Reform Crucial For Malaysian Reform – Analysis

The key to eradicating “Malay-Nationalist” hegemony and feudalism in Malaysia

There is no doubt that the May 9, 2018 electoral revolution that ended six decades of rule of Malaysia by the Barisan Nasional is in danger. The Pakatan Harapan coalition that won has stumbled from issue to issue, in the process of losing three key by-elections and facing increased voter antipathy.

What the reform coalition must realize is that the key to its transformation agenda is electoral reform. It is the prerequisite to political, economic, market, civil service, and social reforms.

The current electoral system has locked in the New Economic Policy (NEP), which was introduced in 1971 after disastrous race riots on May 13, 1969 that took hundreds of lives but which has hamstrung the country economically in the succeeding 48 years.

The original intention was to help Malays participate in the economy along with other races and to develop a Malay professional class through education. However, this positive discrimination policy also facilitated the growth of Malay nationalist narratives into society to the point where the ethnic Malay-agenda has become the dominant political rhetoric, not just within the political environment, but is one of the major drivers of Malaysian cultural dynamics. To many, it has become hegemonic.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, during his first administration, with his then-deputy Anwar Ibrahim, went on a massive campaign to produce Malay entrepreneurs, providing them with ‘institutionally created opportunities” to get rich. We saw the privatisation of the state-owned airline MAS, the development of the Genting gaming complex, the creation of private tollways, public transport and telecommunications, in what has become to be known as crony capitalism. This cronyism became synonymous with becoming a politician as an endeavour to make money, particularly within the ranks of the governing United Malays National Organization, which led the Barisan.

As Islam is a major part of the Malay identity, a form of political Islam also developed. Political Islam’s rhetoric has increased the divide between Muslims and Non-Muslims over the last generation. Islam in Malaysia has moved away from the more inclusive forms that were once found in Egypt and Turkey towards a firebrand exclusive Islam more along the lines of teachings preached by fugitive preacher Zakir Naik.

The current Dewan Rakyat (lower house) electoral system with heavy weighting towards the rural Malay regions over more ethnically diverse urban areas perpetuates Malay-nationalist narratives. It is the heartlands where elections are won or lost, even though 76 percent of the population live in urban areas.

In an extreme example of the electoral weighting of rural areas, one vote in the federal constituency of Igan in Sarawak is worth nine votes in the Bangi constituency in Selangor. In addition, the first past the post voting system which elects the candidate with just a simple majority of votes is inadequate. ‘First past the post’ voting doesn’t give minority parties with general support across the country any voice in parliament, if they cannot win a majority in any constituency. This also promotes the polarity of Malay-nationalist narratives within the Malaysian political system today.

In the 2013 election the Barisan Nasional won 59.91 percent of the constituencies with only 47.38 percent of the popular vote. The principle of “one vote one value” more fairly allows the aggregate voting intention of the country to be reflected in which party or coalition governs the country.

A fairer voting system would help free the country of unhealthy exclusionist narratives which pit one race against another. Hopefully this would encourage inclusive politics rather than the current racial based political rhetoric which is costing the country socially, culturally, and economically.

This is a prerequisite to any development agenda.

Electoral reform cannot stop there. The Dewan Negara, the parliament, has been denigrated into a house of convenience for the federal government of the day. It is comprised of 26 members appointed by state legislatures, four representing the federal territories and 40 appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the king. There are no democratically elected members.

The Dewan Negara is a left-over artefact from the 19th Century symbolising feudalism. It doesn’t functionally review government and maintain states’ rights as it is nominally supposed to do. Its functions have been simply thrashed by past and current governments and converted to appoint members who often use this pathway to become unelected ministers of government.

The disrespect the house is given by the government today is indicated by the fact that 17 seats remain unappointed and therefore unoccupied. This makes it a mockery. The Dewan Negara should not be a convenience for the government of the day, but a working piece of the Malaysian democratic system.

A special committee to look into electoral reform chaired by former Election Commission Chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman was set up last August, not under the parliament but under the Prime Minister’s Department. The Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) has held a number of roundtable discussions with stakeholders and international experts and recently signed an agreement with the UNDP to assist in electoral reform.

However with no specific timeframe and an ad hoc style investigation taking place, it remains to be seen whether this committee will just be a talk fest and travel junket or make serious recommendations in regards to how to overhaul the electoral system.

Under Article 46 of the Malaysian Constitution, parliamentary constituencies can only be reviewed in 2023 and 2026. This means there cannot be any reforms implemented until after the next federal and state elections. To hasten the process would require an amendment to the constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority in the parliament. Pakatan doesn’t command a two-thirds majority and judging by its defeat over the Sabah and Sarawak constitutional amendments, it’s highly unlikely any bipartisan approach will be taken on electoral reform.

Any amendments to the Dewan Negara will also require constitutional amendments. Any attempt to make amendments would most probably lead to charges by the opposition that the government is trying to undermine the royalty, as under the current constitution the Agong on the advice of the prime minister appoints the majority of members sitting in the house.

There are a few additional electoral reform matters which can be changed without committees and constitutional changes. De-synchronising the federal and state elections would bring state issues into elections. This could easily be achieved through dissolving respective houses at different times. Local elections are important to participatory democracy. However these reforms, proposed by he Pakatan coalition since 2008, have led to lengthy procrastination.

Gender bias in each political party could be tackled at the party level although there appears little determination to solve this problem. The balance of power between the Federal and state governments needs to be re-balanced towards the states. This could be partly achieved by political parties allowing their local memberships select their own state candidates.

However the bottom line on electoral reform is that it is not in the real interests of Mahahir’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. The current skew in constituencies toward the Malay heartlands favors Bersatu. Any reforms toward ‘one vote one value’ would greatly strengthen the urban parties, the Malay moderate Parti Keadilan Rakyat, and the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Paety at the cost of Bersatu.

So expect the current government to sit on electoral reform until a leader comes from another party.

A system that reflects ‘one vote one value’ is badly needed if the country is going to continue to develop economically. Landslide election victories under the ‘first past the post’ system have brought arrogant, kleptocratic government in the past. The current system is keeping the NEP in place with the Malay-nationalist and exclusion dialogues propagated by ideologues. This is coming to a tipping point where it is starting to terrorize non-Muslims.

The government needs to send a strong statement against the institutionalised feudalism of the state by democratizing the upper house and giving a stronger states’ voice into the democratic system of a federation. The current electoral system is shackling Malaysia in more ways than one.

Originally published in the Asia Sentinel

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)

The Global Security News

The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: The Scaremongers Are Wrong About Robots And AI – OpEd

By George Pickering*

Thanks to the recent efforts of
such figures as Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang and
British Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, the issue of Universal Basic
Income (UBI) has been back at the forefront of the public discussion on
economic issues, along with the various arguments and justifications for
introducing such a policy. While many of these justifications have
become quite familiar over the years of waxing and waning interest in
UBI, it is interesting to note the recent surge of interest in one particular argument which sounds more like something from a science fiction novel than an economics textbook.

This argument runs roughly as follows: In the not too distant future,
rapidly advancing technology will allow robots and artificial
intelligence (AI) to perform many of the jobs now being done by humans,
and to do so more cheaply and efficiently than humans ever could. This
will result in robots/AI replacing humans in almost all jobs, making the
vast majority of people permanently unemployed, and without Universal
Basic Income how will they (the people) be able to keep food on their
tables?

Of course, the idea that advances in labor saving technology will
lead to catastrophic unemployment and declining living standards is
hardly new, arguably dating back to ancient Greece
or earlier, and economists (not to mention the facts of history) have
been refuting the idea for nearly as long as economics has existed as a
self-conscious science.

However, as familiar as the generally luddite tone of this new
argument for UBI may seem on its surface, it nevertheless does have one
key difference from the more traditional arguments against labor saving
technology. This difference not only sets the new AI scaremongering
argument apart as meaningfully different than the arguments which have
gone before, but also highlights a fundamental misunderstanding its
proponents suffer from, concerning the very nature of what a market
economy is, and what drives it.

What marks the AI scaremongering argument as new and meaningfully
different is its altered assumptions about the breadth of different jobs
which the new technology would be capable of usurping from human
workers. In previous eras, even the most hysterical denouncers of labor
saving technology shared an unspoken understanding of the limited
capabilities of the technologies they opposed. When the spinning jenny
was introduced in the 1760s, they may have argued that it would cause
unemployment in the textiles industry, but none of them would have
claimed that the same machine would cause mass unemployment among
butchers, lawyers, or pub landlords. When automobiles became widely
available, they may have argued that buggy whip manufacturers were at
risk of permanent impoverishment, but few would have argued that the
existence of cars posed an equal threat to the jobs of teachers,
waitresses, or doctors.

However, given the near-total lack of public understanding of what AI
actually is and what it’s capable of, not to mention the irresistible
temptation to sensationalize modest scientific advances into
eye-grabbing and alarmist headlines, the new AI scaremongers have
allowed their imaginations to run wild when speculating as to which jobs
are under threat from this mysterious new technology. The result is
that they, and much of the public, seem to believe AI is (or soon will
be) capable of almost anything they can imagine, in the same way that so
many charmingly naive 80s movies portrayed home computers as essentially “omnipotent science magic.”

It is this assumption that AI and robots will soon be able to accomplish almost all jobs
more cheaply and efficiently than humans, which marks the new AI
scaremongering argument as fundamentally different from the previous
arguments against labor saving technology. Economists had previously
been able to argue that labor saving technology frees up resources and
lowers prices in a way which results in net quality of life improvements
for society as a whole, creating new jobs and opening up new types of
industry, even if it results in short term unemployment for a small
minority. But would that really still be the case if the new technology
is capable of making human labor obsolete in all types of job?

There are several objections one could make against this argument,
not least of which being its dubious assumptions about the capabilities
of AI technology. However, the sign of a truly weak argument is not only
a reliance on unrealistic assumptions, but a failure to stand up to
scrutiny even when its assumptions are taken as given.

Even if it were true that robots and AI could perform absolutely all
jobs currently being done by humans, and could do so more cheaply and
efficiently than humans, the AI scaremongers would still be incorrect to
conclude that robots and AI will replace humans in all, or
even most, jobs. The source of their incorrect conclusion is a
fundamental misunderstanding of what drives business activity in a
market economy. Entrepreneurs are not driven by an arbitrary desire to
pursue the most technologically advanced, the most efficient, or even
the cheapest production process, purely for the sake of it, as seems to
be the assumption of the AI scaremongers and many other
anti-capitalists. Rather, the fundamental driving force in a market
economy is to direct and organize production in the way that best
satisfies consumers’ preferences.

For evidence that this true driving force of the economy does not
necessarily lead to increasing reliance on technology, even if that
technology would be more cheap or efficient in some objective sense, one
need look no further than the sectors in which human workers already
are being replaced by ‘robots’ of a sort. Readers who have visited a
fast food chain such as McDonalds in the past few years may have noticed
an increasing number of self-service touch screens, reducing the need
for human staff to take orders. But if this technology exists and is
already in profitable use at these fast food chains, why hasn’t it been
adopted by all other restaurants? If the AI scaremongers believe robots
and AI will necessarily replace all human workers when the former can
perform the same job more cheaply and efficiently, how do they account
for the fact that human waiters haven’t already been replaced by
self-service touch screens at the Savoy Grill or The Ritz? The absurdity
of the question illuminates the fact that a desire to satisfy consumer
preferences, not bare efficiency and cost-cutting, is the key motivator
of entrepreneurial decision making in a market economy.

With a little thought, it is easy to imagine many services which
consumers might prefer to have provided to them by human staff, even if a
machine were technically capable of providing the same service more
cheaply: nurses and care providers, entertainers, chefs, and teachers
would likely fall into this category, as would many other jobs.

Given the persistent popularity of UBI across the political spectrum,
its advocates are unlikely to abandon any of their
increasingly-familiar arguments any time soon. However, it seems
unlikely that their new argument about AI-induced mass unemployment will
turn out to be the silver bullet they were hoping for.

*About the author: George Pickering is a 2018 Mises Institute Research Fellow and a student of economic history at the London School of Economics.

Source: This article was published by the MISES Institute

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)

The Global Security News

The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites): Eurasia Review: The Scaremongers Are Wrong About Robots And AI – OpEd

By George Pickering*

Thanks to the recent efforts of
such figures as Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang and
British Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, the issue of Universal Basic
Income (UBI) has been back at the forefront of the public discussion on
economic issues, along with the various arguments and justifications for
introducing such a policy. While many of these justifications have
become quite familiar over the years of waxing and waning interest in
UBI, it is interesting to note the recent surge of interest in one particular argument which sounds more like something from a science fiction novel than an economics textbook.

This argument runs roughly as follows: In the not too distant future,
rapidly advancing technology will allow robots and artificial
intelligence (AI) to perform many of the jobs now being done by humans,
and to do so more cheaply and efficiently than humans ever could. This
will result in robots/AI replacing humans in almost all jobs, making the
vast majority of people permanently unemployed, and without Universal
Basic Income how will they (the people) be able to keep food on their
tables?

Of course, the idea that advances in labor saving technology will
lead to catastrophic unemployment and declining living standards is
hardly new, arguably dating back to ancient Greece
or earlier, and economists (not to mention the facts of history) have
been refuting the idea for nearly as long as economics has existed as a
self-conscious science.

However, as familiar as the generally luddite tone of this new
argument for UBI may seem on its surface, it nevertheless does have one
key difference from the more traditional arguments against labor saving
technology. This difference not only sets the new AI scaremongering
argument apart as meaningfully different than the arguments which have
gone before, but also highlights a fundamental misunderstanding its
proponents suffer from, concerning the very nature of what a market
economy is, and what drives it.

What marks the AI scaremongering argument as new and meaningfully
different is its altered assumptions about the breadth of different jobs
which the new technology would be capable of usurping from human
workers. In previous eras, even the most hysterical denouncers of labor
saving technology shared an unspoken understanding of the limited
capabilities of the technologies they opposed. When the spinning jenny
was introduced in the 1760s, they may have argued that it would cause
unemployment in the textiles industry, but none of them would have
claimed that the same machine would cause mass unemployment among
butchers, lawyers, or pub landlords. When automobiles became widely
available, they may have argued that buggy whip manufacturers were at
risk of permanent impoverishment, but few would have argued that the
existence of cars posed an equal threat to the jobs of teachers,
waitresses, or doctors.

However, given the near-total lack of public understanding of what AI
actually is and what it’s capable of, not to mention the irresistible
temptation to sensationalize modest scientific advances into
eye-grabbing and alarmist headlines, the new AI scaremongers have
allowed their imaginations to run wild when speculating as to which jobs
are under threat from this mysterious new technology. The result is
that they, and much of the public, seem to believe AI is (or soon will
be) capable of almost anything they can imagine, in the same way that so
many charmingly naive 80s movies portrayed home computers as essentially “omnipotent science magic.”

It is this assumption that AI and robots will soon be able to accomplish almost all jobs
more cheaply and efficiently than humans, which marks the new AI
scaremongering argument as fundamentally different from the previous
arguments against labor saving technology. Economists had previously
been able to argue that labor saving technology frees up resources and
lowers prices in a way which results in net quality of life improvements
for society as a whole, creating new jobs and opening up new types of
industry, even if it results in short term unemployment for a small
minority. But would that really still be the case if the new technology
is capable of making human labor obsolete in all types of job?

There are several objections one could make against this argument,
not least of which being its dubious assumptions about the capabilities
of AI technology. However, the sign of a truly weak argument is not only
a reliance on unrealistic assumptions, but a failure to stand up to
scrutiny even when its assumptions are taken as given.

Even if it were true that robots and AI could perform absolutely all
jobs currently being done by humans, and could do so more cheaply and
efficiently than humans, the AI scaremongers would still be incorrect to
conclude that robots and AI will replace humans in all, or
even most, jobs. The source of their incorrect conclusion is a
fundamental misunderstanding of what drives business activity in a
market economy. Entrepreneurs are not driven by an arbitrary desire to
pursue the most technologically advanced, the most efficient, or even
the cheapest production process, purely for the sake of it, as seems to
be the assumption of the AI scaremongers and many other
anti-capitalists. Rather, the fundamental driving force in a market
economy is to direct and organize production in the way that best
satisfies consumers’ preferences.

For evidence that this true driving force of the economy does not
necessarily lead to increasing reliance on technology, even if that
technology would be more cheap or efficient in some objective sense, one
need look no further than the sectors in which human workers already
are being replaced by ‘robots’ of a sort. Readers who have visited a
fast food chain such as McDonalds in the past few years may have noticed
an increasing number of self-service touch screens, reducing the need
for human staff to take orders. But if this technology exists and is
already in profitable use at these fast food chains, why hasn’t it been
adopted by all other restaurants? If the AI scaremongers believe robots
and AI will necessarily replace all human workers when the former can
perform the same job more cheaply and efficiently, how do they account
for the fact that human waiters haven’t already been replaced by
self-service touch screens at the Savoy Grill or The Ritz? The absurdity
of the question illuminates the fact that a desire to satisfy consumer
preferences, not bare efficiency and cost-cutting, is the key motivator
of entrepreneurial decision making in a market economy.

With a little thought, it is easy to imagine many services which
consumers might prefer to have provided to them by human staff, even if a
machine were technically capable of providing the same service more
cheaply: nurses and care providers, entertainers, chefs, and teachers
would likely fall into this category, as would many other jobs.

Given the persistent popularity of UBI across the political spectrum,
its advocates are unlikely to abandon any of their
increasingly-familiar arguments any time soon. However, it seems
unlikely that their new argument about AI-induced mass unemployment will
turn out to be the silver bullet they were hoping for.

*About the author: George Pickering is a 2018 Mises Institute Research Fellow and a student of economic history at the London School of Economics.

Source: This article was published by the MISES Institute

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1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites): “Brooklyn Art” – Google News: Whitney Biennial Artists Join Call for Removal of Weapons Manufacturer Warren B. Kanders from Museum Board – – ARTnews

Whitney Biennial Artists Join Call for Removal of Weapons Manufacturer Warren B. Kanders from Museum Board –  ARTnews

A version of the letter was first released in early April and had signatures from 120 academics.

“Brooklyn Art” – Google News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites)

The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: China’s Digital Silk Road: The Integration Of Myanmar – Analysis

Although relatively new to the information and communication technologies (ICT) field, Myanmar has made rapid progress in the technological domain in the past few years. This, coupled with the country’s unique geographical location between South Asia and Southeast Asia makes Myanmar an increasingly vital intersection in China’s Digital Silk Road.

By Chan Jia Hao*

With projects valued at over US$740 billion, Southeast Asia has become one of the most participative regions for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In September 2018, China and Myanmar officially signed the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) agreement, an initiative first proposed by China’s foreign minister Wang Yi during his Myanmar visit in November 2017.

Connecting Kunming, Yangon and Mandalay, the CMEC has an enhanced bilateral focus on Myanmar within the BRI, aimed at fostering greater bilateral economic integration
through the formation of joint industrial zones and further lowering of
trade barriers. But alongside the CMEC, a parallel undercurrent of
technology flows between Myanmar and China is flourishing but given
little attention. It is crucial to understand this bilateral
technological exchange within the ambit of the Digital Silk Road to
perceive the significance of these developments.

The Digital or Information Silk Road (DSR)

Introduced as one of the sub-goals of connectivity under the massive
BRI in 2013, the Digital or Information Silk Road was conveyed to the
business community and governments at the China-European union digital
cooperation forum in July 2015 as a mere area of multilateral
cooperation with China.

But to date, memorandums of understanding between China and 16
countries have been officially signed under the Digital Silk Road (DSR).
Unofficially, the number of host countries would include at least a
third of BRI host countries − the China-based Belt and Road Portal has
reported that over 6,000 of China’s Internet enterprises alongside over
10,000 Chinese technological products have penetrated the overseas
market.

As China continues to promote digital connectivity and its
technologies under the BRI, this raises Myanmar’s playing field for
further economic integration in the region, especially with the country
acting as a strategic bridge between South and Southeast Asia. Myanmar
could do so both geographically and through its presence in regional
groupings like ASEAN and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM)
Forum.

Digitalising Myanmar

In ASEAN, Chinese investments in its combined technological sectors
account for over one third of Chinese tech investments across all BRI
countries (2007-2016). However, Myanmar is still a relatively new
entrant in the global ICT market. As of 2016, Myanmar still ranks 133th
out of 139 countries under the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness
Index (NRI).

Across all ASEAN countries, Myanmar also scored the lowest in terms
of rank of business, government and individual usage under the NRI. In
addition, only an estimated 20 percent of Myanmar’s population has
access to 4G internet services.

But with progressive transformation from military to civilian rule,
the World Bank helped to liberalise its telecommunication sector,
through the Myanmar Telecommunications Sector Reform
in 2014. In August 2016, the Myanmar government formulated a 12-point
economic policy aimed at attracting investments as well as improving
employment opportunities and productivity. Within this grand economic
strategy, the government aims to build a digital government strategy,
supported by a rapidly growing ICT sector with infrastructure.

Through these efforts, Myanmar’s domestic ICT market is significantly
expanding. In 2017, Myanmar’s mobile phone users stood at 108 percent
of the population, having increased from a mere 13 percent in 2013. A
more liberal market has also made access to technology significantly
affordable. The average price of mobile sim cards has fallen 99.3
percent within the five year period from 2012-2017.

Broadband access also increased to 56 percent in 2017 as compared to
one percent in 2012, while the actual number of Internet lines that are
fibre optic based has grown at least 440 per cent between 2010 and
2016-17. Conversely, the number of dial-up lines fell to zero since
2016-17. At the backend of technology service provision, the Myanmar
government is also working on a 15-year power development plan to
sustain Myanmar’s digitalisation in the long run.

Digital Silk Road’s Involvement in Myanmar

Despite Myanmar’s steady growth in the ICT sector in the past few
years, the country continues to rely on external technology partners to
aid its domestic technological advancement. A number of instances
illustrates the magnitude of Chinese interest to further strengthen
Myanmar’s digital infrastructures.

First, Chinese interests in Myanmar’s ICT landscape have been
deepening over the last decade. Since, 2018 the country’s Ministry of
Transport and Communications has been working with
Huawei in order to deploy 5G broadband services across Myanmar within
the next five years. A further push was given to its 5G plans in
February 2019 when Huawei pledged to increase digital literacy and the
usage of Internet of Things in Myanmar.

However, even as early as 2013, Huawei had begun its involvement in Myanmar – it donated
more than US$5 million of equipment to Myanmar for a various purposes,
including the SEA Games Organisation and mobile technology systems.

On the softer side of Myanmar’s digital economy, Alibaba acquired
Shop.com.mn, Myanmar’s largest online shopping platform in early 2018
and has plans to localise e-commerce by working with local suppliers and
labour. It also attempts to introduce the Myanmar Payment Union on its e-commerce platform as a uniform payment solution across local bank partners.

Myanmar as a Critical Node for China

But their tech interests is not one-sided. As part of infrastructure building under the CMEC,
both China and Myanmar held their first science and technology
cooperation meeting in Yangon in late 2018, where they established a
joint radar and satellite communications laboratory. Prior to this,
China Unicom, China’s second largest mobile and fixed network operator, launched
a US$50 million China-Myanmar International (CMI) terrestrial cable
system in 2014. But this has yet to be activated for undisclosed
reasons.

Spanning across 1500 km from Ruili (Southwestern China) to Ngwe Saung
Beach on the west coast of Myanmar, the CMI cable project is but one of
the many Chinese cable projects in Asia set to link to those in
Djibouti in Africa, including ongoing Chinese cable projects under the
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Earlier in 2014, the Myanmar’s state
department of agriculture had also procured 520 sets of BeiDou satellite
navigation receiver for collecting and utilising agricultural data.

While Myanmar appears to be only one of the many hosts to the Digital
Silk Road, the country’s unique geographical location is a critical
node to link the BRI between South Asia and Southeast Asia, with respect
to digital connectivity. In addition, Myanmar’s participation in both
ASEAN and the BCIM Forum can further strengthen its position as a
potential collaborator and base for new-age projects such as inter-smart
cities for countries in this region.

*Chan Jia Hao is a Research Analyst with the Institute of South Asian Studies, an autonomous research institute of the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore. Deepakshi Rawat is a Junior Research Analyst with Pulse Lab Jakarta, Indonesia.

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The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Putin-Kim Summit: Enter The Russian Factor – Analysis

President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un on 25 April 2019 in Vladivostok is not unexpected. It merely confirms that Russia has always had a role in trying to resolve the protracted issue of North Korea’s nuclear weapon development. The main purpose of this meeting is to reinforce the message that the US alone cannot influence what Pyongyang will do on denuclearisation.

By Chris Cheang*

The last summit between Russian and North Korean leaders took place in 2011 when Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il, travelled to Siberia to meet Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s then president. That Kim Jong-un has agreed to meet Putin should not come as a surprise. Putin had issued an invitation to Kim Jong-un to visit Russia soon after the latter met Donald Trump at their summit in Singapore on 12 June 2018. It is also not surprising that the summit did not lead to any breakthrough on North Korean nuclear weapon development and denuclearisation.

The Putin-Kim summit took place not with a view to attempting a
breakthrough. That was obvious from the start. Both sides did not
publicise the summit weeks before, unlike Kim’s two summits with
President Trump. The Kremlin itself officially confirmed Kim’s visit
only on 18 April with no details or dates of the visit, other than
stating in a pithy fashion that he would visit Russia “in the second
half of April”.

Why the Putin-Kim Vladivostok Summit

While Russia is a key player in the whole issue, the fact remains
that only the United States and China could offer North Korea real
relief from the sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the US. Both
Putin and Kim know that. But there are at least four reasons why Putin
had entered the fray.

First, Putin wanted to show the world, especially the US, that no
lasting solution to the issue can be found without Russia’s
participation. Being a UN Security Council Permanent Member, a nuclear
power as well as North Korea’s neighbour, denuclearisation cannot happen
without Russia’s support. The Putin-Kim summit has only reinforced
these points. Indeed, the US Special Envoy for North Korea, Stephen
Biegun visited Moscow when news of the summit was made known.

Putin stressed at a press conference after the latest summit “it is
unlikely that agreements between the two countries will be enough”,
alluding to the need for international guarantees for North Korea’s
security. The two countries cited were the US and North Korea. Putin
felt that the Six-Party Talks format would certainly be “highly relevant
to develop a system of international security guarantees for North
Korea.”

Launched in 2003, the Six-Party Talks were aimed at ending North
Korea’s nuclear programme through negotiations involving China, the US,
North and South Korea, Japan and Russia but the process ended when North
Korea left the negotiations in 2009.

Showing Russia as an Asia-Pacific Power

Second, for the benefit of China, the US, South Korea and Japan which
have a direct interest in the issue, Putin also wanted the summit to
showcase Russia’s great power status and above all, that it is an
Asia-Pacific power.

Third, Putin would like to add momentum to international efforts to
find an acceptable and sustainable solution to the issue. Maintaining
contact and dialogue with Pyongyang therefore is not only logical but
also desirable.

Fourth, Russia also does not want a nuclear-armed and unstable North
Korea as that would pose a real security threat to its territory should
hostilities break out between North Korea and the US and its allies in
the region. Moreover, the current situation only provides the US and its
allies with more reasons to justify the deployment of missile defence
systems in the region. These systems could devalue Russia’s strategic
nuclear deterrent.

At the press conference, Putin emphasised that Russia also advocated
“complete denuclearisation: this is a fact”, adding that Russia
completely opposed the global proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction. He said that Russia had prioritised efforts to reduce the
threat of nuclear conflicts, a common priority. Of note, Putin stressed
that his impression was that Kim also “shares this viewpoint”. All North
Korea needed were national security guarantees. Putin’s references to
North Korea’s need for security guarantees imply that Russia remains
opposed to any regime change by the US.

Russia’s Limited Economic Leverage

Finally, since Russia has very limited economic leverage over North
Korea, compared to China, Russia will not exercise economic pressure on
Pyongyang. However, it is in Russia’s interest to try to revive economic
projects stalled by sanctions and the summit provided a good
opportunity to raise them with Kim Jong-un.

These projects revolve around Russia’s proposals to establish rail
links with both Koreas and a gas pipeline to South Korea running through
the North’s territory as well as the possible construction of electric
power lines.

Putin referred to these projects in the press conference, pointing
out that they were also in South Korea’s interest while alluding to
Seoul’s difficulties in making decisions. In a somewhat sarcastic tone,
Putin said that “apparently, there is a shortage of sovereignty during
the adoption of final decisions, and the Republic of Korea has certain
allied obligations before the US”. He made it plain that implementation
of these projects “would create essential conditions for increasing
trust, which is vitally needed to resolve various problems”.

On his part, Kim needed to balance his contacts and relations with
China, the US and South Korea. After all, he had met President Xi
Jinping, President Trump and President Moon Jae-in several times in the
past one year. His summit with Putin was therefore long overdue and part
of Pyongyang’s balancing act. Kim also wanted to show his people his
growing international stature, having met the leaders of the US, China
and Russia in a relatively short time.

What It Means for ASEAN

Any reduction of tensions in Northeast Asia would benefit Southeast
Asia as well. That Russia is playing its part to lessen these tensions
by holding a summit with North Korea is only to be welcomed. ASEAN
should expect Russia to continue playing a positive role in maintaining
peace and stability in the region.

ASEAN may need to revisit its position on the Six-Party Talks as this
subject may be raised by the Russian side at future ASEAN Plus settings
like the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

*Chris Cheang is a Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He was a diplomat in the Singapore Embassy in Moscow for three terms between 1994 and 2013 before retiring in September 2017.

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The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: China Bars Australian Coal In Political Rift – Analysis

By Michael Lelyveld

After months of concern over China’s curbs on coal from Australia,
signs are growing that the imports have fallen victim to political
disputes.

Speculation over China’s motives has been rising since November, when
reports first surfaced that Chinese ports had stopped clearing inbound
coal shipments until the end of 2018 due to high inventories built up
ahead of winter.

While China is the world’s top producer and consumer of coal, it is
also the biggest buyer with imports of 281.5 million metric tons last
year, according to customs figures.

But the import restrictions in November have extended well into 2019, focusing heavily on Australia.

In early February, The Australian daily reported that customs
clearance times for the country’s exports of coking coal had doubled to
40 days at key Chinese ports. The paper cited speculation over
“Sino-Australian relations” as a reason for the slowdown.

The Australian pointed to the government’s decision last August to
ban Chinese telecom companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. from
participating in the country’s 5G network development due to
cybersecurity concerns.

Other issues included Australia’s decision in November to block a bid
by Hong Kong-based CK Asset Holdings Ltd. for the gas pipeline business
of the country’s APA Group on “national interest” grounds.

Later in February, Reuters reported that Chinese traders had stopped
ordering Australian coal because of long wait times for customs
clearance at Chinese ports.

The report indicated that only Australian shipments had been targeted
for lengthy inspections at five import facilities controlled by the
Dalian Port Group in northeastern China’s Liaoning province.

“The traders and a broker said only cargoes from Australia, the
biggest supplier of the fuel to the world’s top consumer, were
affected,” Reuters said. The report noted that the ban applied to
thermal coal used in power plants and industry, as well as coking coal
for steel manufacturing.

Reuters also cited differences with China over hacking allegations and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

In January, Australian Defense Minister Christopher Pyne backed an
increase in Japan’s defense spending and voiced support for more
operations within disputed South China Sea boundaries, Australia’s ABC
News reported at the time.

In March, Chinese sources told The Australian that a second
statement on the South China Sea issue during Pyne’s January visit to
Singapore had angered Beijing and led to the coal crackdown.

As implications mounted and the Australian dollar came under
pressure, Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged caution “about leaping to
conclusions,” AFP News reported. The government sought an “urgent”
clarification from Beijing, the BBC said.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang said China was
conducting a “risk monitoring analysis … to safeguard the legitimate
rights and interests of Chinese importers and to protect the
environment.”

When asked whether Australian coal had been singled out, Geng simply repeated the statement, The Australian reported.

‘Using coal as a weapon’

Australian suppliers argued against concluding that their exports had
been targeted, but analysts saw a political message in China’s curbs.

“The banning of those coal shipments is a form of coercion against
Australia. It’s punishment against states that resist China’s pressure,”
said Dr. Malcolm Davis, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic
Policy Institute, according to the BBC.

“China is using coal as a weapon to fight back against Australia,” an unnamed commodity analyst told The Australian Financial Review.

On April 15, the business daily reported that fears of port delays
had caused Chinese buyers to switch from Australian sources to other
suppliers.

In interviews, Chinese traders and customers agreed that Australian
coal has been subjected to tougher environmental checks than exports
from Indonesia, Russia, or Mongolia.

“China doesn’t need to introduce a formal ban,” the paper quoted one
source as saying. “The real risk is that customers will just stop buying
it because they think shipments won’t get through.”

On April 12, The Sydney Morning Herald reported comments by a Chinese industry official that seemed to strip away any ambiguity over motivations behind the coal ban.

“You can’t earn Chinese money and then politically make irresponsible
comments about China and become unfriendly,” said Cui Pijiang, director
of the China Coking Industry Association, speaking at a conference in
Beijing.

“I’m afraid … this is something the Chinese government can’t tolerate,” Cui said.

Although Chinese traders were unable to say which of the
disagreements with Australia had prompted China’s restrictions, they
voiced support for retaliation on imports.

“The ban on Australian coal has created a lot of disturbance for coal traders, coal users, and related industries. But it is more important for China to give Australia a good lesson,” one trader told The Financial Review.

A common response

The import penalty appeared to signal an increasing willingness on
the part of China to throw its economic weight around in the global
energy market in the service of its political agenda and strategic
goals.

But the uncertainty over which of the bilateral conflicts may have
triggered the Chinese crackdown on Australian exports may make the
problem especially difficult for diplomacy.

Mikkal Herberg, energy security research director for the
Seattle-based National Bureau of Asian Research, said China’s government
has been typically responsive to the interests of domestic coal
companies, which have suffered from weakening demand and environmental
rules.

“It is very common for Beijing to respond to pressure from the coal
industry associations by cutting imports and using a whole variety of
often bogus explanations,” Herberg said.

But Herberg also sees a political motive behind the restrictions on Australian coal.

“Clearly, there is also a political, diplomatic element to this and
more evidence that Beijing is willing to use its market power as well as
other means to send political messages,” he said.

“It seems to me that this is clearly a message to Australia over
recent political tensions. Otherwise, how can you explain the cut and
delays in imports of Australian coking coal while other suppliers are
unaffected?” Herberg said.

A combination of industry pressures and politics also seems possible.

“Put the two together and why not help support the domestic coal
industry … by cutting cheaper coking coal imports while also sending a
very blunt message to the Australians that ‘positive political
relations’ are required for growing trade?” Herberg said.

In the case of coking coal in particular, Herberg sees no justification for banning Australian imports on environmental grounds.

“The environmental explanation hardly works, since Australian coking
coal is generally very low sulfur, one of its key market advantages,”
Herberg said.

Before the ban, Australia accounted for some 44 percent of China’s coking coal imports, The Australian reported.

While some Australian coal under contract is getting through the
ports to Chinese traders and buyers, the delays are expected to last
through the rest of the year, Australian reports said.

Last week, a Reuters report gave a glimmer of hope to Australian
exporters, noting that Chinese customs figures showed a near doubling of
coking coal imports from Australia in March from February.

But a trader suggested that some ports may have allowed the increase
to take advantage of lower prices despite the continuing customs delays.

Bloomberg News reported that the slowdown would last at least through
Australia’s federal elections on May 18, giving China time to assess
the possibility of policy changes in Canberra. The report cited unnamed
“people with knowledge of the plan.”

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The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: India: Sustained Subversion In Punjab – Analysis

By Nijeesh N*

As in previous years,
Pakistani efforts to create disturbances in the Indian State of Punjab
in support of Khalistani separatism continued through 2018. Worryingly,
Khalistani terrorists managed to inflict a major attack
(resulting in three or more fatalities) in the State after an 11 year
gap, with three persons killed and another 20 injured in a grenade
attack at a religious congregation at the Nirankari Satsang Bhawan at
Adliwal village in Amritsar District on November 8, 2018. The last such
major attack was reported on October 14, 2007, when seven persons were
killed and 40 were injured in a bomb blast inside a cinema hall in
Ludhiana.

The Punjab Chief Minister
Captain (Retd.) Amarinder Singh referring to the Satsang Bhavan blast
stated on November 19, 2018, that the attack had Pakistan’s ‘signature’
as the grenade used (HG-84) in the attack was similar to the grenades
manufactured by Pakistan’s Army Ordnance Factory. Indeed, Punjab Police
subsequently arrested two members of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF),
Bikramjit Singh (arrested on November 21, 2019) and Avtar Singh
(November 24, 2019), for their involvement in the grenade attack and
identified three other persons residing in foreign countries as accused
(names not disclosed). The arrested persons disclosed that the grenade
was provided by Pakistan-based KLF ‘chief’ Harmeet Singh Happy aka PhD.

Harmeet Singh had earlier
masterminded the conspiracy to carry out a series of targeted killings
in different parts of Punjab over 2016-2017, with the support of
Pakistan’s military establishment and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
A total of nine persons, including some leaders of Hindu outfits, were killed over
this period in ‘targeted attacks’ which the National Investigation
Agency (NIA)’s investigation unveiled were planned and executed by a
transnational network of conspirators, including Harmeet Singh.

Punjab recorded another attack
on September 14, 2018, when four militants hurled four grenades at the
Maqsudan Police Station in Jalandhar District, injuring two Police
personnel. Investigation revealed that Jammu and Kashmir-based Ansar
Ghazwat-ul-Hind, headed by Zakir Rashid Bhatt aka Zakir Musa, had
carried out the attacks. Zakir Musa had also directed Kashmiri students
to plant a grenade at the Chandigarh bus stand.

On December 26, 2018, the UMHA banned KLF and all its manifestations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). KLF was the 40th entry in the list of terrorist organizations banned by the Government of India.

According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), in 2018 three civilian fatalities were recorded in Punjab, all in the November 8, 2018 attack. In 2017, apart from the targeted killings of six persons, Punjab had recorded two fatalities as the Border Security Force (BSF) shot dead two Pakistani infiltrators along the Indo-Pakistan border. During 2016, Punjab recorded 25 fatalities, which included the attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF) Base at Pathankot on January 2-3, 2016, by Islamist Terrorists of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). 2015 also saw an Islamist terrorist attack at the Dinanagar Police Station  campus in the Gurdaspur District of Punjab in the early hours of July 27, 2015, in which 10 persons were killed (three civilians, four SF personnel and three terrorists). No fatalities were recorded in 2014 and 2013. Two infiltrators were killed along the Punjab border in 2012.

Significantly, the Minister of State in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA), Hansraj Gangaram Ahir on January 2, 2019, informed the Rajya Sabha
(Upper House of Indian Parliament) that a total of 18 Khalistani
terrorist modules were neutralized, resulting in the arrest of 95
Khalistani operatives, during the preceding two years in Punjab.

Earlier on November 18, 2018,
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh stated that at least 15 terrorist modules
had been neutralized in the preceding 18 months, with indications of
‘Kashmiri terror’ links emerging in some instances as well, as evidenced
in the case of the grenade attack at Maqsudan Police Station on
September 14, 2018.

Partial data on the SATP
database records at least 16 Khalistan militants arrested through 2018,
in addition to 42 arrested in 2017. A total of 234 Khalistani terrorists
principally associated with the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI),
Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), Bhindranwale Tigers Force of Khalistan
(BTFK), Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), Khalistan Commando Force (KCF),
International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) as well as some minor
factions have been arrested since 2010 (data till April 28, 2019). At
least seven of these militants have been arrested in the current year
(data till April 28, 2019).

Most recently, on March 31,
2019, the State Special Operations Cell (SSOC) of the Punjab Police
neutralized a terrorist module and arrested five ‘highly radicalised’
members of the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) from a park near Dara
Studio in the Phase 6 area of Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar in Mohali
District. One .32 bore pistol along with a magazine and four live
rounds, as well as 15 letter pads of BKI, were recovered from the
possession of the arrested persons.

According to reports, the fives
arrestees were part of a bigger module which also included three other
militants, identified as Rupinder Singh, Daler Singh Bunty and Ranjit
Singh, who are yet to be arrested. Ranjit Singh, former ‘chief’ of the
Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF),
is based in Germany, and was the mastermind providing help to the
accused and motivating them to eliminate the targets. The arrested
persons were also reportedly in touch with Jagtar Singh Hawara of BKI,
currently lodged in Tihar jail in New Delhi.

According to Varinder Paul
Singh, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of SSOC, Mohali, the arrested
persons were radicalised over social media by suspected persons based in
Europe. The module was planning to kill specific targets in Punjab,
including Hindu leaders and members of Dera Sacha Sauda. The accused
wanted to kill certain people to fulfill the ‘incomplete’ task other
militants who were lodged in different jails in Punjab and other States.
The module was mobilising funds and had already procured lethal
weapons. They were also planning to arrange weapons’ training in Jammu
and Kashmir (J&K) and were in touch with leaders such as Ranjit
Singh and Jagtar Singh Hawara in this regard.

Meanwhile, activities to keep
Khalistani/Sikh separatism alive continued at the international level.
Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a marginal Khalistani diaspora group
headquartered in the United States (US), organized an event on August
12, 2018, at Trafalgar Square in London and announced the ‘Khalistani
Referendum 2020’ campaign. The ‘referendum’ purportedly aims to
determine the wishes of the Sikh community settled across the globe on
the issue of Punjab’s ‘liberation’ from India by 2020, and then pursue a
referendum through the intervention of the United Nations (UN).

According to intelligence
sources in August 2018, ISI, a secret operation code-named as ‘Express’
was funding and promoting the ‘Khalistani Referendum 2020’ campaign.
Significantly, on November 23, 2018, when India’s Cabinet approved the
decision on the construction of the Kartarpur corridor, Pakistan gave permission
to the SFJ to open its office in Lahore. On November 28, 2018, the SFJ
leadership even declared, ‘the Kartarpur corridor is a bridge to
Khalistan’ and announced their intention to organise the Kartarpur Sahib
Convention-2019 in support of the referendum agenda at Kartarpur Sahib
in Pakistan, if the proposed corridor for Sikh pilgrims between India
and Pakistan is functional by then. On April 14, 2019, however, the
Pakistan Government disallowed foreign-based Khalistani Sikhs from
commencing registration for ‘Referendum 2020’ in Pakistan.

On the Sikh festival of
Baisakhi (April 14), the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee
(PSGPC) general secretary, Gopal Chawla, raised slogans in support of
Khalistan while trying to instigate Indian Sikh pilgrims from the stage
at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Pakistan. An unnamed Indian intelligence
officer observed,

Things are not as they are being presented. It appears a preplanned game plan of both the ISI and SFJ… Its [Pakistan’s] leadership is under tremendous pressure from international community and can’t afford to allow a secessionist movement to operate from its soil which has the potential to turn violent. Allowing its own Sikh leader to raise Khalistan slogans is less detrimental than allowing foreign separatists to use its land for fanning anti sentiments in full public and media glare.

Interestingly, on April 12,
2019, due to the domestic political compulsions, the Canadian Government
removed eight references to Sikh extremism and six references to
Khalistan from its terror report – “2018 Public Report on the Terrorism
Threat to Canada”. Earlier, in December 2018, for the first time, the
Canadian Government had listed Khalistani extremism among the threats
the country is facing, in its annual federal report on terror threats
since the commencement of the report in 2013. On February 21, 2018,
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had handed over
a list of ‘A’ category operatives of BKI, KTF and ISYF to the Canadian
Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, during the latter’s visit to Punjab.

The peace that has long
prevailed in Punjab, after a decade and a half of Khalistani terrorism,
is now being tested. Islamabad is exerting efforts to create a bond
between Islamist and Khalistani terrorist formations in its stables.
According to an April 8, 2019, media report, the Intelligence Bureau
(IB) had warned that Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind and several pro-Khalistan
groups would come together to disrupt the General Elections in Punjab,
scheduled to be held on May 19, 2019. Seven-phase general elections are
currently underway across the country, with the last phase on May 19,
and the counting of votes on May 23.

There is a continuous trickle of Khalistani extremist recruitment and radicalization in the Punjab, fuelled by extremist elements in the Sikh Diaspora and generously supported and actively directed by Pakistan’s ISI. The Punjab Police and intelligence apparatus has been successful in neutralizing a large number of potential terrorists and cells within Punjab, and consequently in preventing a number of incidents. The impact within Punjab remains marginal, but any complacency would be an invitation to future disasters, and the risks of major incidents remain constantly alive.

*Nijeesh N
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)

The Global Security News

The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: South Asia: Changing Face Of Terror – Analysis

By Ajit Kumar Singh*

On April 21, 2019, South Asia
witnessed the worst ever terror attack, in terms of fatalities, recorded
in the region till date. On Easter Sunday (April 21), Islamist
terrorists carried out eight coordinated suicide bomb attacks within a
span of six hours (8:45am to 2:45am, SST). The attacks which targeted
three Churches and three major hotels across the three main cities –
Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa – of Sri Lanka, resulted in fatalities
of at least 253 persons, including 250 civilians and three Security
Force (SF) personnel. Nine suicide bombers involved in the attacks were
also killed, taking the total death toll in the incident to 262. Another
500 persons were injured, including many severely.

Incidents in Sri Lanka after
the April 21 attack, prominently, the raid by Sri Lankan SFs’ in Ampara
District on April 26-27, 2019, which resulted in the death of 15
persons, mostly terror suspects who were part of the larger module
involved in the April 21 attacks, and their family members, clearly
indicate that the present threat is far from over.

Preliminary investigations
indicate that two little known Sri Lanka-based Islamist terror
formations, the National Thawheed Jamaath and Jammiyathul Millathu
Ibrahim in collusion with the global terrorist formation, Islamic State
(IS, also Daesh), carried out the attacks.

The previous worst attack in
the region was recorded on March 12, 1993, in Mumbai (Maharashtra) in
India, when the city was rocked by a series of bomb explosions within a
span of two and a half hours (1:30pm to 4:00pm, IST) which had resulted
in death of 253 persons. At least 713 persons had sustained injuries in
the attack. The Mumbai attacks were masterminded by Dawood Ibrahim,
whose D-Company has now established close associations with the Islamist
terrorist formations operating out of Pakistan. Dawood Ibrahim is
globally one of the most wanted terrorists.

South Asia has for long faced Islamist terrorism and, since 2005, according to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP),
the region has accounted for at least 71,400 Islamist terrorism-linked
fatalities: 24,766 civilians; 8,218 SF personnel; 38,416 militants (data
till April 28, 2019). [The data does not include fatalities in
Afghanistan as the SATP database on Afghanistan only commences January
1, 2018]. Pakistan accounted for 62,535 such fatalities, followed by
India (7,828), Bangladesh (760) and Sri Lanka (277).

1,156 of these fatalities were
recorded in 2018 down from 1,683 in 2017. There were a total of 560 such
fatalities in 2019. Fatalities in this category have been declining
since 2010.

Nevertheless, the attacks in Sri Lanka, and developments in recent pasts in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and the Maldives,
demonstrate that threats from this form of terrorism remain as alive,
and have the potential to gain significant momentum at any juncture in
these countries if there is any slackness on the part of the Government
in the policy making and the SFs on ground. The April 21 attacks in Sri
Lanka underline the dangers of complacency, as there was ample actionable intelligence  available with authorities, but the intelligence and enforcement apparatus failed to act.

Left-Wing Extremism (LWE),
which has also afflicted wide areas in the region, has also been on a
decline. According to the SATP database, since 2005, the region has
accounted for at least 11,654 LWE-linked fatalities (3,757 civilians,
2,532 SF personnel, 5,365 militants, data till April 28, 2019). India
accounted for 8,260 such fatalities, followed by Nepal 2,623 Bangladesh
758 and Bhutan, 13.

418 Maoist fatalities were
recorded in 2018 up from 348 in 2017. There have already been 102 such
fatalities in 2019. Though fatalities in this category have maintained a
cyclical trend since 2010 it has never crossed three digits thereafter.
There were a total of 1,268 LWE-linked fatalities in 2010. 
Significantly, the two decade-long Maoist insurgency in Nepal ended with
a peace agreement in 2006, removing one of the principal theatres of
LWE violence from the conflict map.

In Bangladesh, mounting SF
pressure has forced LWEs to stop their violent activities. Indeed, the
last incident of killing by LWEs was recorded on December 9, 2013, when
suspected LWEs killed a local trader in the Santhia sub-District of
Pabna District.

Developments in India,
nevertheless, demonstrate that the residual potential of LWE groups is
significant.  In India, the intermittent and audacious attacks of the
recent past clearly indicate that the Maoists still possess the
wherewithal, albeit diminishing, to strike at will. Even as the general
elections are underway in the country, cadres of the Communist Party of
India–Maoist (CPI-Maoist)
triggered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast and subsequently
opened fire, targeting the convoy of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), Bhima Mandavi, in a forested
patch near Nakulnar village under the Kuwakonda tehsil (revenue
unit) of Dantewada District in Chhattisgarh’s ailing Bastar Division, on
April 9, 2019. Those killed included MLA Mandavi and his three Personal
Security Officers (PSOs), as well as the constable-driver.

Total terrorism and insurgency
linked fatalities in South Asia (including Islamist and LWE) have
dropped from a peak of 29,638 (of which 15,565 were in Sri Lanka alone)
in 2009, to just 1,648 in 2018, the lowest fatalities recorded in a year
since 2005. There were 2,145 fatalities in 2017. Such fatalities have
been in continuous decline since 2010.

At least 614 fatalities, including 329 civilians, 120 SF personnel and 165 Insurgents/terrorists, have been documented across the region in the first quarter of 2019 (data till April 28, 2019). During the corresponding period in 2018, there were 501 such fatalities, including 136 civilians, 131 SF personnel and 243 Insurgents.

The spread of conflict has
declined along with its intensity. The SATP Conflict Map for South Asia
shows significant areas of the region affected by high intensity
conflict (fatalities above 1000) in 2009, while there were no such regions remaining in 2018.
By 2018, only two Districts (Mastung and Quetta), both in the
Balochistan Province of Pakistan, remained afflicted by low intensity
conflict (fatalities between 100 and 1000 per annum).  Another 134
districts were affected by ‘other conflict’ (less than 100 fatalities
per annum), of which 83 were in India and 41 were in Pakistan.

However, the situation in
Afghanistan remains dire. According to partial data compiled by SATP,
3,705 fatalities have already been recorded, including 124 civilians,
394 SF personnel and 3,182 insurgents, in 503 incidents of killing in
2019 (data till April 28). During the corresponding period in 2018,
5,345 fatalities, including 285 civilians, 252 SF personnel and 4,502
insurgents, were recorded in 705 incidents of killing. Through 2018,
fatalities totaled 14,581, including 1,076 civilians, 1,526 SF personnel
and 11,684 Insurgents, in 1,758 incidents of killing. 

Casualties among civilians, the
best indicator of the prevailing security scenario in any theatre of
conflict, have been rising in Afghanistan since 2014, with the exception
of 2017. 2018 registered 3,804 fatalities among civilians, the highest
ever recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
UNAMA since 2009 [when UNAMA first began counting civilian fatalities].
The previous high of 3,701 civilian fatalities was recorded in 2014.
Fatalities in the civilian category remained under 3,000 for four out of
the five years between 2009 and 2013. Civilian fatalities stood at
3,133 in 2011.

Sustained improvement in the
security situation across much of South Asia has helped the region grow.
According to the latest available World Bank data,
the region’s GDP (current USD) had risen to 3.34 trillion in 2017, as
against 1.683 trillion in 2009, when fatalities were at peak. Similarly,
Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, at USD 1063.85 in 2009,
increased to USD 1723.92 in 2017. Life expectancy increased from 64.3 in
2009 to 68.95 in 2017.

Nevertheless, South Asia remains among the most violent region globally. According to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2018,

South Asia had the highest impact of terrorism on average in 2017, and has had the highest average score on the GTI of any region for the past 16 years. Bhutan was the only country in South Asia not to record a death from terrorism in 2017 and is the only South Asian country to have less than a thousand deaths from terrorism since 2002.
As well as accounting for the highest number of total deaths, MENA [Middle east and North Africa], South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa also had the most lethal terrorist attacks on average, with 2.75, 1.85 and 4.35 people killed per attack respectively.

More worryingly, the GTI 2018 confirmed,

Many countries in South Asia have seen an increase in terrorist activity from ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Daesh] and its affiliates in the past few years. In Bangladesh, the largest recent terrorist attack occurred in 2016, when an armed assault in Dhaka killed 28 people. ISIL later claimed responsibility for the attack. In 2017, the two deadliest attacks in South Asia were committed by the Khorasan Chapter of the Islamic State in Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing 93 and 91 persons respectively.

According to The Soufan Center’s report
in 2017, 75 persons from India, 650 persons from Pakistan and 32
persons from Sri Lanka had joined fighting alongside the Islamic State.
Specifically, according to the SATP database, a total of 168 Daesh
sympathizers/recruits have been arrested and another 74 persons have
been detained, counselled and released, in India (data till April 28,
2019), while 98 Indians were believed to have travelled to Syria, Iraq
and Afghanistan to join IS – microscopic numbers in terms of the
country’s huge Muslim population. Of the 98 who travelled abroad to join
Daesh, 33 are confirmed to have been killed. Further, according to an ICSR report
on Women and Minors of Islamic State published in July 2018, at least
200 persons from Maldives and 40 persons from Bangladesh were also among
Daesh’s foreign fighters.

Daesh’s involvement in the latest suicide bombings and subsequent incidents in Sri Lanka are a warning to all states across the region. Indeed, the perpetrator groups in Sri Lanka are also believed to have linkages in India. The degree to which the evolution of the National Thawheed Jamaath and the Jamiyathul Milathu Ibrahim (both groups were banned by Sri Lankan Government on April 27, 2019) was hidden away from intelligence and enforcement agencies in Sri Lanka is an index of the potential that could well be developing, or that could develop, in other countries of the region as well. Despite tremendous gains across major theatres of violence across South Asia, states and their agencies need to be far more vigilant, responsive and prepared to meet potentially escalating threats in the near future.

*Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)

The Global Security News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites): “Madison Brooklyn” – Google News: Local roundup: Cony, Madison softball teams earn victories – Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

Local roundup: Cony, Madison softball teams earn victories  Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

AUGUSTA — The Cony softball team rallied for five runs in the sixth inning to post a 6-2 win over Bangor in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A win …

“Madison Brooklyn” – Google News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites)

The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Austria: Far-Right Leader Urges Fight Against ‘Population Exchange’

Austrian far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache has asked voters to
support his Freedom Party (FPÖ) in European Parliament elections and
help counter migration flows that he called an unwanted “population
exchange”.

The comment by Strache, vice-chancellor in conservative Sebastian Kurz’s government, follows the resignation this week of a local FPÖ official who likened migrants to rats and a row with public broadcaster ORF over an anti-immigrant party poster.

Strache told the Krone newspaper such controversies could actually play into the FPÖ’s hands ahead of EU elections in May.

“We are consistently following the path for our Austrian homeland,
the fight against population exchange, as people expect of us,” he was
quoted as saying.

Questioned by the paper on using a term embraced by the extreme
right, Strache said: “This is a term of reality. We do not want to
become a minority in our own homeland. This is legitimate and honest and
deeply democratic,” adding only the use of violence to impose views
warranted the extreme-right tag.

Austria took in roughly 1 percent of its population in asylum seekers
in 2015 during a migration crisis in which more than a million people
traveled to Europe, many of them fleeing war and poverty in the Middle
East, Africa and elsewhere.

That experience dominated a 2017 parliamentary election and helped
propel Kurz’s conservatives and Strache’s FPÖ to power. Strache hopes to
draw on it again in May 26 EU voting.

“With us you can vote out the irresponsible open-arms culture of
(German Chancellor) Angela Merkel, (French President) Emmanuel Macron
and (European Commission President) Jean-Claude Juncker,” he told the
paper on why voters should back the FPÖ.

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)

The Global Security News

The Brooklyn Bridge: The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Austria: Far-Right Leader Urges Fight Against ‘Population Exchange’

Austrian far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache has asked voters to
support his Freedom Party (FPÖ) in European Parliament elections and
help counter migration flows that he called an unwanted “population
exchange”.

The comment by Strache, vice-chancellor in conservative Sebastian Kurz’s government, follows the resignation this week of a local FPÖ official who likened migrants to rats and a row with public broadcaster ORF over an anti-immigrant party poster.

Strache told the Krone newspaper such controversies could actually play into the FPÖ’s hands ahead of EU elections in May.

“We are consistently following the path for our Austrian homeland,
the fight against population exchange, as people expect of us,” he was
quoted as saying.

Questioned by the paper on using a term embraced by the extreme
right, Strache said: “This is a term of reality. We do not want to
become a minority in our own homeland. This is legitimate and honest and
deeply democratic,” adding only the use of violence to impose views
warranted the extreme-right tag.

Austria took in roughly 1 percent of its population in asylum seekers
in 2015 during a migration crisis in which more than a million people
traveled to Europe, many of them fleeing war and poverty in the Middle
East, Africa and elsewhere.

That experience dominated a 2017 parliamentary election and helped
propel Kurz’s conservatives and Strache’s FPÖ to power. Strache hopes to
draw on it again in May 26 EU voting.

“With us you can vote out the irresponsible open-arms culture of
(German Chancellor) Angela Merkel, (French President) Emmanuel Macron
and (European Commission President) Jean-Claude Juncker,” he told the
paper on why voters should back the FPÖ.

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)

The Global Security News

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Ralph Nader: Open Letter To Boeing’s Board Of Directors – OpEd

Dear Mr. Muilenburg:

On April 4, 2019 you somewhat belatedly released a statement that “We
at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 MAX
accidents.” You added that a preliminary investigation made it “apparent
that in both flights” the MCAS “activated in response to erroneous
angle of attack information.”

Your acknowledgement of the problems with the 737 MAX somehow escaped
inclusion in your messages to shareholders, the capital markets, and
the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is now stunningly clear that
your overly optimistic outlook on January 20, 2019 – after the
Indonesian Lion Air crash – was misleading. Whatever the public learns,
day after day about the troubles of your company, it is still far less
than what Boeing knows will come out day by day, and not just about the
deadly design of the 737 MAX.

Your narrow-body passenger aircraft – namely, the long series of
737’s that began in the nineteen sixties was past its prime. How long
could Boeing avoid making the investment needed to produce a
“clean-sheet” aircraft and, instead, in the words of Bloomberg Businessweek “push
an aging design beyond its limits?” Answer: As long as Boeing could get
away with it and keep necessary pilot training and other costs low for
the airlines as a sales incentive.

To compete with the Airbus A320neo, Boeing equipped the 737 MAX with
larger engines tilted more forward and upward on the wings than prior
737’s. Thus began the trail of criminal negligence that will implicate
the company and its executives. The larger engines changed the center of
gravity and the plane’s aerodynamics. Boeing management was on a fast
track and ignored warnings by its own engineers, not to mention scores
of other technical aerospace people outside the company.

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software
fix or patch with all its glitches and miscues is now a historic example
of a grave failure of Boeing management. Yet, you insist the 737 MAX is
still safe and some alteration of the MCAS and other pilot advisories
will make the aircraft airworthy. Aircrafts should be stall-proof, not
stall-prone. Trying to shift the burden onto the pilots for any vast
numbers of failure modes beyond the software’s predictability is
scurrilous. The Boeing 737 MAX must never be permitted to fly again – it
has an inherent aerodynamic design defect. Sell your Boeing 737NG
instead.

No matter your previous safety record of the 737 series, Boeing
doesn’t get one, two, or more crashes that are preventable by adopting
long-established aeronautical knowledge and practices. You are on the
highest level of notice not to add to your already extraordinary record
of criminally negligent decisions and inactions. Result – 346 innocent
people lost their lives.

Boeing management’s behavior must be seen in the context of Boeing’s
use of its earned capital. Did you use the $30 billion surplus from 2009
to 2017 to reinvest in R&D, in new narrow-body passenger aircraft?
 Or did you, instead, essentially burn this surplus with self-serving
stock buybacks of $30 billion in that period? Boeing is one of the
companies that MarketWatch labelled as “Five companies that spent lavishly on stock buybacks while pension funding lagged.”

Incredibly, your buybacks of $9.24 billion in 2017 comprised 109% of
annual earnings. As you know, stock buybacks do not create any jobs.
They improve the metrics for the executive compensation packages of top
Boeing bosses.

To make your management recklessly worse, in December 2018 you
arranged for your rubberstamp Board of Directors to approve $20 billion
more in buybacks now placed on pause.

Then, after the Indonesian crash, came the second software-bomb that
took away control from the pilots and brought down Ethiopian Airlines
Flight 302 on March 10, taking the lives of 156 passengers and crew. At
the time, you were way overdue with your new software allegedly
addressing the avoidable risks associated with the notorious 737 MAX.

Don’t you see some inverted priorities here? Don’t you see how you
should have invested in producing better aircraft? Instead, your top
management was inebriated with the prospect of higher stock values, and
higher profits by keeping your costs lower with that “aging design” of
the Boeing 737s. You guessed wrong – big time for your passengers as
well as for your company.

Boeing is in additional trouble that reflects poor management. On March 22, 2019, the Washington Post reported
that NASA’s Administrator, Jim Bridenstine said “the agency is
considering sidelining the massive rocket Boeing is building because of
how far behind schedule it is.”

And now, the agency is about to announce another major delay in the
high-profile spacecraft Boeing is building to fly astronauts to the
International Space Station.

Then on April 21, 2019, the New York Times in a lengthy
front-page story, based on “internal emails, corporate documents and
federal records, as well as interviews with more than a dozen current
and former employees,” reported that your South Carolina factory, which
produces the 787 Dreamliner, “has been plagued by shoddy production and
weak oversight that have threatened to compromise safety.”

It is not as if you are receiving anything but top dollar payments
for these military (the Air Force tanker) and government contracts. You
overpay yourself at over $23 million in 2018, which comes to about
$12,000 an hour!

In the midst of these accusations, whistleblower lawsuits, alleged retaliations by management, the Times reports
your pace of production “has quickened” and that you are eliminating
“about a hundred quality control positions in North Charleston [South
Carolina].” Why?

Big corporations are run like top-down dictatorships where the hired hands determine their own pay and strip their shareholder owners of
necessary powers of governance. Your Board of Directors should disclose
what you told them about the 737 MAX and when they knew it.

Already, corporate crime specialists are making the case for you and
other top Boeing managers, having refused to listen to the warnings of
your conscientious engineers, regarding the redesign of the 737 MAX, to
face criminal prosecution. Note BP pleading guilty in the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill, to eleven counts of manslaughter in 2013.

Glass Lewis urges removal of Boeing audit committee head Lawrence
Kellner for “failing to foresee safety risks with the 737 MAX aircraft,”
reported the Financial Times, on April 16, 2019.

Consider, in addition, the statement of two Harvard scholars—Leonard
J. Marcus and Eric J. McNulty, (authors of the forthcoming book, You’re It: Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When it Matters Most).

“Of course, if Boeing did not act in good faith in
deploying the 737 Max and the Justice Department’s investigation
discovers Boeing cut corners or attempted to avoid proper regulatory
reviews of the modifications to the aircraft, Muilenburg and any other
executives involved should resign immediately. Too many families, indeed
communities, depend on the continued viability of Boeing.”

These preconditions have already been disclosed and are evidentially
based. Your mismanagement is replete with documentation. Management was
criminally negligent, 346 lives of passengers and crew were lost. You
and your team should forfeit your compensation and should resign forthwith.

All concerned with aviation safety should have your public response.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)

The Global Security News

The Brooklyn Bridge: The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Ralph Nader: Open Letter To Boeing’s Board Of Directors – OpEd

Dear Mr. Muilenburg:

On April 4, 2019 you somewhat belatedly released a statement that “We
at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 MAX
accidents.” You added that a preliminary investigation made it “apparent
that in both flights” the MCAS “activated in response to erroneous
angle of attack information.”

Your acknowledgement of the problems with the 737 MAX somehow escaped
inclusion in your messages to shareholders, the capital markets, and
the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is now stunningly clear that
your overly optimistic outlook on January 20, 2019 – after the
Indonesian Lion Air crash – was misleading. Whatever the public learns,
day after day about the troubles of your company, it is still far less
than what Boeing knows will come out day by day, and not just about the
deadly design of the 737 MAX.

Your narrow-body passenger aircraft – namely, the long series of
737’s that began in the nineteen sixties was past its prime. How long
could Boeing avoid making the investment needed to produce a
“clean-sheet” aircraft and, instead, in the words of Bloomberg Businessweek “push
an aging design beyond its limits?” Answer: As long as Boeing could get
away with it and keep necessary pilot training and other costs low for
the airlines as a sales incentive.

To compete with the Airbus A320neo, Boeing equipped the 737 MAX with
larger engines tilted more forward and upward on the wings than prior
737’s. Thus began the trail of criminal negligence that will implicate
the company and its executives. The larger engines changed the center of
gravity and the plane’s aerodynamics. Boeing management was on a fast
track and ignored warnings by its own engineers, not to mention scores
of other technical aerospace people outside the company.

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software
fix or patch with all its glitches and miscues is now a historic example
of a grave failure of Boeing management. Yet, you insist the 737 MAX is
still safe and some alteration of the MCAS and other pilot advisories
will make the aircraft airworthy. Aircrafts should be stall-proof, not
stall-prone. Trying to shift the burden onto the pilots for any vast
numbers of failure modes beyond the software’s predictability is
scurrilous. The Boeing 737 MAX must never be permitted to fly again – it
has an inherent aerodynamic design defect. Sell your Boeing 737NG
instead.

No matter your previous safety record of the 737 series, Boeing
doesn’t get one, two, or more crashes that are preventable by adopting
long-established aeronautical knowledge and practices. You are on the
highest level of notice not to add to your already extraordinary record
of criminally negligent decisions and inactions. Result – 346 innocent
people lost their lives.

Boeing management’s behavior must be seen in the context of Boeing’s
use of its earned capital. Did you use the $30 billion surplus from 2009
to 2017 to reinvest in R&D, in new narrow-body passenger aircraft?
 Or did you, instead, essentially burn this surplus with self-serving
stock buybacks of $30 billion in that period? Boeing is one of the
companies that MarketWatch labelled as “Five companies that spent lavishly on stock buybacks while pension funding lagged.”

Incredibly, your buybacks of $9.24 billion in 2017 comprised 109% of
annual earnings. As you know, stock buybacks do not create any jobs.
They improve the metrics for the executive compensation packages of top
Boeing bosses.

To make your management recklessly worse, in December 2018 you
arranged for your rubberstamp Board of Directors to approve $20 billion
more in buybacks now placed on pause.

Then, after the Indonesian crash, came the second software-bomb that
took away control from the pilots and brought down Ethiopian Airlines
Flight 302 on March 10, taking the lives of 156 passengers and crew. At
the time, you were way overdue with your new software allegedly
addressing the avoidable risks associated with the notorious 737 MAX.

Don’t you see some inverted priorities here? Don’t you see how you
should have invested in producing better aircraft? Instead, your top
management was inebriated with the prospect of higher stock values, and
higher profits by keeping your costs lower with that “aging design” of
the Boeing 737s. You guessed wrong – big time for your passengers as
well as for your company.

Boeing is in additional trouble that reflects poor management. On March 22, 2019, the Washington Post reported
that NASA’s Administrator, Jim Bridenstine said “the agency is
considering sidelining the massive rocket Boeing is building because of
how far behind schedule it is.”

And now, the agency is about to announce another major delay in the
high-profile spacecraft Boeing is building to fly astronauts to the
International Space Station.

Then on April 21, 2019, the New York Times in a lengthy
front-page story, based on “internal emails, corporate documents and
federal records, as well as interviews with more than a dozen current
and former employees,” reported that your South Carolina factory, which
produces the 787 Dreamliner, “has been plagued by shoddy production and
weak oversight that have threatened to compromise safety.”

It is not as if you are receiving anything but top dollar payments
for these military (the Air Force tanker) and government contracts. You
overpay yourself at over $23 million in 2018, which comes to about
$12,000 an hour!

In the midst of these accusations, whistleblower lawsuits, alleged retaliations by management, the Times reports
your pace of production “has quickened” and that you are eliminating
“about a hundred quality control positions in North Charleston [South
Carolina].” Why?

Big corporations are run like top-down dictatorships where the hired hands determine their own pay and strip their shareholder owners of
necessary powers of governance. Your Board of Directors should disclose
what you told them about the 737 MAX and when they knew it.

Already, corporate crime specialists are making the case for you and
other top Boeing managers, having refused to listen to the warnings of
your conscientious engineers, regarding the redesign of the 737 MAX, to
face criminal prosecution. Note BP pleading guilty in the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill, to eleven counts of manslaughter in 2013.

Glass Lewis urges removal of Boeing audit committee head Lawrence
Kellner for “failing to foresee safety risks with the 737 MAX aircraft,”
reported the Financial Times, on April 16, 2019.

Consider, in addition, the statement of two Harvard scholars—Leonard
J. Marcus and Eric J. McNulty, (authors of the forthcoming book, You’re It: Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When it Matters Most).

“Of course, if Boeing did not act in good faith in
deploying the 737 Max and the Justice Department’s investigation
discovers Boeing cut corners or attempted to avoid proper regulatory
reviews of the modifications to the aircraft, Muilenburg and any other
executives involved should resign immediately. Too many families, indeed
communities, depend on the continued viability of Boeing.”

These preconditions have already been disclosed and are evidentially
based. Your mismanagement is replete with documentation. Management was
criminally negligent, 346 lives of passengers and crew were lost. You
and your team should forfeit your compensation and should resign forthwith.

All concerned with aviation safety should have your public response.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)

The Global Security News

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Global Security News: Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): The Trump Investigations Report – Review Of News And Opinions: 1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “trump anxiety” – Google News: Understanding What Makes the Latino Trump Supporter Tick – BELatina

Understanding What Makes the Latino Trump Supporter Tick  BELatina

For many, it can seem uncanny that any person of color, including Latinos, would vote for someone like Trump — and yet some do. Trump supporter.

“trump anxiety” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)

The Trump Investigations Report – Review Of News And Opinions

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)

The Global Security News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites): “Brooklyn College” – Google News: Parents Voice Concern Over Sale of Basis Independent Schools – Wall Street Journal

Parents Voice Concern Over Sale of Basis Independent Schools  Wall Street Journal

More than 190 New York City families at the private Basis Independent Schools sent a letter to its leaders to express concerns about its recent purchase by a …

“Brooklyn College” – Google News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites)

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites): “Brooklyn NY” – Google News: MULAY: Evaluating Virginia’s 2019 NBA Draft Prospects – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

MULAY: Evaluating Virginia’s 2019 NBA Draft Prospects  University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

After a magical run in the 2019 NCAA Tournament that ended with the program’s first national championship, the Virginia men’s basketball team has seen …

“Brooklyn NY” – Google News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites)

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites): “Brooklyn NY” – Google News: New York, NY 2019-05-04: The Way That We Live: An L Word LARPing Party – Autostraddle

New York, NY 2019-05-04: The Way That We Live: An L Word LARPing Party  Autostraddle

Q: What is the L Word** and why are we LARPing about it? A: If you’ve never seen the iconic, important, drama-infused, and at times problematic** television …

“Brooklyn NY” – Google News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites)

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites): “Canarsie Brooklyn” – Google News: Riders endure first dose of reduced L train service – News 12 Brooklyn

Riders endure first dose of reduced L train service  News 12 Brooklyn

Riders got their first taste over the weekend of reduced L train *service* as construction crews work on the Canarsie tunnel.

“Canarsie Brooklyn” – Google News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites)

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites): “brooklyn crime news” – Google News: Report: Man attacked law enforcement 3 times in Brooklyn, once with cop’s taser – SILive.com

Report: Man attacked law enforcement 3 times in Brooklyn, once with cop’s taser  SILive.com

Anthony Salgado, 25, is accused of using an officer’s taser in an attack, then punching a corrections officer, according to a recent report.

“brooklyn crime news” – Google News

1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites)